Friday 20 July 2012

LBA installation progress — 20-Jul-2012

After a mixed week, we've finished(no pun intended) really well. Obviously there have been the ASTRON engineers on the site during the early part of the week and their work went well. We managed to get the HBA installation complete and the commissioning and calibration has now begun. We've had some delays due to some technical challenges, but there hasn't been anything that we have not been able to overcome with perseverance. The first data are now starting to come off the system and we are pleased with the results so far. There is a long way to go, of course, but we are confident that we can get there quickly so that the scientific experiments can commence.

On the LBA, there has been lots of hard work on trenches, cabling, ducts. Poor weather has slowed things down, as has some unforeseen issues with the drawing of cable lines. Unlike most international LOFAR stations, the cable work here is extremely complicated, requiring careful and painstaking work. However, the crew has managed to get these sorted out and today bears proof of that. In half a day alone, we managed to get five new LBA aerials installed and connected. Things are thus looking very good for when work on the LBA resumes on Monday.

The light-shaded LBA aerials are today's efforts.

General works around the site have also been going on during this week, and there's been good progress there too. The site is a lot more organised now  and it is starting to look complete in many areas. It has been great that everyone has found a spare moment here and there to help clean up, sort things out and make the place more presentable. Especially as it is without asking! The fact that everyone takes such professional pride in the work is great and it makes KAIRA a wonderful place to work.

There is a busy programme of software and calibration work planned for the weekend and construction and installation shall resume on Monday. Of course, watch for more photographs over the weekend as we catch up with the backlog! However, for now, it is time to sign off...

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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